Guwahati: As the nation still comes to terms with the horror that unfolded on the streets of Guwahati, more chilling details are emerging of how a rowdy mob of 50 molested a young girl while people and the police quietly watched. The editor of a local daily, who witnessed the incident on Monday night, has told NDTV that he did try to rescue the girl but stood no chance in front of the men who heckled and threatened him. More shockingly, he says that the men attacked and manhandled the girl even when she was inside the police jeep in the midst of armed cops. (Top 10 developments)
Mukul Kalita, the editor of Ajir Asom, was passing by when he saw the hapless girl running on the street, screaming, stopping cars and banging on their windows for help. He stopped to help her. "She fell on my feet, saying 'Uncle, help me'," Mr Kalita told NDTV, as nearly 30-40 men followed her. By this time, nearly 30 minutes had elapsed since the victim's ordeal began. "Some of her clothing had been ripped off," Mr Kalita said, recounting the shameful incident. (Post your comments here)
As he tried to intervene, some men, who were part of the mob, asked him to back off, saying that the girl had hit two of their men. The police had said that the girl was involved in a physical fight with one of the two men who had accompanied her to the pub which they later left. While people at a rickshaw stand nearby initially tried to separate the duo, the crowd soon turned on the girl, the police said.
Mr Kalita tried to reason out with the men, saying that the matter should be dealt with by the police, if what they alleged was true. But in vain. In the meanwhile, the police had arrived at the scene of the crime - within a gap of just five minutes after Mr Kalita reached.
But the nightmare was far from over. The frenzied mob assaulted the girl even in the police jeep, in the presence of two armed cops. While the men took away the keys of the police vehicle, the trauma that was unleashed on the girl continued for the next 30 minutes.
Even as images of the men brazenly going after the girl were aired on national television, no one could be seen helping the girl. Even the role of a cameraperson and reporter of a local channel has come under a cloud with questions being asked on whether the duo should have focused on helping the victim, rather than recording the crime on camera. Dipya Bordoloi, the reporter of Newslive, says he was disgusted that could not do more. His news editor, Syed Zarir Hussain, said that if the footage did not exist, it's doubtful that any arrests would have been made. (Watch: It was like gang-rape, says reporter who saw Guwahati molestation)
Of the 50-strong mob, the police have identified just 12, while only four have been arrested so far. The first arrest, too, was made only on Wednesday, 48 hours after the incident had occurred. The government also woke up to the incident only yesterday. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi held a press conference - the first comment by the state government on the incident - and said the law and order in Guwahati needs to improve.